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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mumbai: In overcrowded courtroom, lawyers, mediapersons throw out Covid protocol

Mediapersons were allowed to re-enter the courtroom after the judge permitted the same. Justice Sambre resumed the session and began taking up matters serially. Lawyers standing outside the courtroom continued to make a commotion.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: October 27, 2021 8:00:47 am
bombay high court aryan khan drugsThe Bombay High Court

There was high drama at the courtroom in the Bombay High Court during the long wait for the Aryan Khan’s bail plea hearing, with mediapersons and lawyers massing in numbers, and the clock kept moving amid a furious guessing game if the matter listed as ‘Serial Number 57’ would be heard at all on Tuesday.

The countdown began when the court convened again after lunch. Justice Nitin W Sambre began by hearing matters that were retained from the pre-lunch session.

Pointing at the crowded and cramped courtroom, as Covid-19 protocol was not being followed, Justice Sambre rose. The court staffers and associates then asked only advocates and their juniors appearing for matters between serial numbers 45 to 55 to stay in court, failing which the bench would not assemble.

Aryan Khan’s bail plea was listed at Serial Number 57.

The courtroom was emptied with the help of police and the court staffers. That took nearly 10-15 minutes.

Mediapersons were allowed to re-enter the courtroom after the judge permitted the same. Justice Sambre resumed the session and began taking up matters serially. Lawyers standing outside the courtroom continued to make a commotion.

The hearing on Aryan’s bail plea commenced around 4.15 pm. But it got interrupted almost immediately as only a limited number of people were allowed inside, and those barred from entering protested vehemently.

Senior advocate Amit Desai told the court that their juniors, with documents, were outside the courtroom and they be let in, which the court allowed and then continued with the hearing.

After senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Aryan, concluded his arguments, there were intervention applications to contend with. Advocate Subhash Jha, representing social worker and intervention applicant Prakash Vakhariya, raised the grievance that precedence was given to Aryan’s matter over hundreds of other pending bail pleas.

Jha, along with advocate Amrish Mishra, said, “We are supporting the prosecution (NCB) case (and opposing bail plea). But our grievance is more that this court is giving preference to Aryan Khan’s bail plea even as there are several hundred such applications pending before this court.”

Justice Sambre said he would consider the applications at the end of the hearing. “I do not rise without completing my board. You’ve appeared before me. Your contention that the privilege is given to certain persons is not right. Whosoever comes gets a hearing. I am sensitive to your concerns, hence, I sit till 7 30 pm. Else, I could sit till 4.30 pm and curtail my board,” he added.

As the courtroom was again seen filling up with lawyers, the judge directed his staff to call out matters from the remainder of the daily list and asked lawyers in the courtroom if they had any urgent pleas. Once other pending matters beyond serial 57 were adjourned, Justice Sambre resumed hearing bail pleas of accused in the NDPS case,
which went on till around 6 pm, after which it was adjourned to Wednesday.

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